This ensemble was based off of a portrait of the sixteenth century woman Ana de Mendoza. In her lifetime she was a countess, duchess, princess, and prisoner. I picked this portrait as inspiration because I enjoyed the contrast of the colors, and it was something I could easily make from materials I already owned. The costume consists of four pieces, the kirtle, an undershirt, a hat, and an eyepatch.
The kirtle is made from six yards of dark grey polyester taffeta. It is heavily boned in the front, and laces up the back through hand sewn eyelets. Taffeta was draped over a heavy layer of canvas which serves as a base for all the structure. Strips of wool circle the arm holes, and ruffled lace decorates the neckline. Light grey pearls were sewn all around the neckline and a brooch I purchased online completes the bodice.
The hat is made from felt weight interfacing and wire, which provide the structure. Each piece was covered with flannel for padding, then taffeta which matches the dress. The interior is lined with a damask print denim and cotton gauze. Strips of wool suiting were placed around the brim and crown of the hat to cover the stitches keeping the pieces together. It’s decorated with four ostrich plumes, pearls, and a sash of blue silk chiffon.
The undershirt is made from cotton gauze, with lace sleeves that have ruffles at the cuffs. They tie at the center with sashes of blue silk chiffon, which match the one used on the hat.
The final piece is an eyepatch, which was also made from felt weight interfacing. It’s covered with damask print denim, lined with wool, and ties in place with black covered cord.
I have three posts about the process of making this costume, which can all be read below.